"Don't know when we will be able to play Test match again," star batsman Mushfiqur Rahim tweeted alongside a picture of the second Test between England and the West Indies on Monday night. Theirs is the first international series to be staged following the outbreak of coronavirus. The agony was discernible and akin to Soumya Sarkar's -- who had pondered something similar while watching the same match.
Bangladesh cricket has been at a standstill during the pandemic and the Tigers have had to contend with five bilateral series postponements. Cricket activities have been on hold since mid-March since the postponement of the Dhaka Premier League. With the 2020 T20 World Cup deferred to 2021 on Monday, and the Asia Cup also postponed, the frustration of the country's cricketers has only grown.
However, a ray of hope is now beginning to appear with the chance to get back to competitive cricket sooner rather than later.
The latest ICC meeting saw clear dates set for major cricketing events till 2023 and it allows the BCB to finally focus on restarting on their own terms. Cricket Australia's (CA's) acting chief executive Nick Hockley said it allowed them "to focus with real clarity on the summer ahead," and the BCB too can finally get their priorities straight.
The BCB is seeing the T20 World Cup postponement as an opportunity; a blessing in disguise.
"This postponement has given us a clearer picture. The dates for the events for 2021 till 2023 were not clear but it's clear now and it makes our planning much easier. As I said before, no team has a chance to be deprived as per the current FTP (Future Tours Program) structure. After the meeting, the windows for the big events have been settled," BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury told The Daily Star yesterday.
With the country's coronavirus situation still not showing improvement, BCB will be prioritising away tours. The three away tours which were earlier postponed will be focused on and the Sri Lanka series will be given the highest priority as the platform to return to competitive cricket. The domestic setup will also feature in their plans as bilateral series plans can be hampered by the pandemic. But with the major events already scheduled, the BCB will be able to plan accordingly for bilateral series.
"We feel that if we can begin playing away series, it will be the best option. For resumption, our main priority is to reschedule the Sri Lanka tour which was postponed," Chowdhury said of the Sri Lanka tour, originally planned for July-August before being deferred to a 'mutually planned later date'.
"Work is being undertaken and we have started communication with Sri Lanka board," he added.
"The Ireland series can be another option but their financial reality will have to be considered. The third option is the Pakistan tour where we have one Test left. In our consideration, Pakistan isn't in a position to host cricket at this moment but we will observe how we can go forward.
"On top of all that, we have to prioritise domestic cricket and how we can start as soon as possible. If we speak about the order of priority, the Sri Lanka tour is first. Next is the DPL, with the BPL our third priority. The Ireland series comes fourth on our list.
"The domestic structure will be challenging since the coronavirus situation is not yet favourable but we have started communicating with the clubs. We will also hold talks with franchises regarding BPL. This postponement has made our path clearer," Chowdhury concluded.
If the BCB can enact their plans, cricketers who have already begun individual training at BCB facilities across the country will be able to continue preparations with a set target in mind.